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NZ Fishing News - Letters to the Editor

Dump wrecks to thwart trawlers

Editor; I am a dedicated 50-year-old-plus fisherman and was five when my fanatical fisherman father instilled values into me which remain today, some 45 years later. I was never able to outfish him. I have a small seven-year-old son who has third generation fishing blood pumping through his veins. He has been very active since he was four years old. My problem is that he shows real talent and does from time to time outfish his doting father, who has no desire to be out-fished by a seven year old.

I support and applaud you for your efforts with option4. I see it as being very fair and reasonable. One reason that I support the option is that I will need to continue practicing to keep up with my small mate, whose proxy support you have.

I have a background in commercial fishing, having owned a Danish Purse Seine boat in the early part of the 1980s. This was before the days of "the quota system." I saw at first-hand the continual flouting of the law by some fishing in prohibited areas and nursery grounds. They showed scant regard for their future and that of their children, to say nothing for the future of the fish. The enforcement and supervision of the laws, regulation and the rules by the "powers that be" were woefully inadequate to the point of being non-existent.

Since I have been resident in the Bay of Islands I have seen pair trawling operations at night without the required fishing lights or in fact without any lights. They ensure that the breeding fish have little chance.Recently we have seen controversial bait fishing operations within the confines of the Bay which must have a detrimental effect on the food chain.

A possible solution and a deterrent to the very questionable activities of the opportunistic commercial fishermen who display a lack of scruples and common sense, is to take Northland's abundant supply of abandoned and wrecked motor vehicles and distribute them in strategic locations to form the basis of artificial reef habitats. This would do wonders for the trawl nets and be beneficial to both the local council and the environment, as well as cleaning up the backyards of some who maintain they have "customary rights" to fish which belong to every New Zealander.

If Options 1-3 were a Government supported initiative, then I certainly did not give them or their servants authority or the right to impose their will on me or thousands of my fellow fishermen who must feel the same way, I am sure.

Ian Mitchell

(Copies to Dover Samuels MP and John Carter MP).

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